FSU's offensive breakthrough

EJ Manuel returns to lead an offense that could lift FSU to the top of the ACC this season. AP Photo/John Raoux

During the Bobby Bowden dynastic years (1987-2000), the Florida State Seminoles had a scoreboard formula for success: average 38 points per game on offense and allow only 15 points per game on defense. This equation led the Noles to at least 10 wins and a top-five ranking in each of those seasons, and thus is the benchmark to which future Florida State squads will be compared.

Jimbo Fisher's 2011 Seminoles reached the latter goal by giving up only 15.1 points per game, a total that ranked fourth best in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

Where they fell short is in scoring offense, as that group racked up only 30.6 points per game. That total was high enough to tie for 39th in the FBS, but it fell short of vaulting the Seminoles to a national title, 10 wins or even an ACC crown despite the ACC being the lowest scoring BCS conference last season.

Since the Seminoles have nine returning starters on defense, it would seem that platoon should continue to hold up its end of the bargain, so the real key for the 2012 Florida State club is whether or not the offense can find a way to move into the upper echelon of scoring that will put this team back into true national title contention.

Can the Seminoles do it? A closer look at the game tape breakdowns and metrics says the answer is an emphatic yes.